Igniting Results: How One SMB Sparked Fast Growth with Sales Navigator

May 7, 2019

Small and Mighty

When Eve Griffin joined Sparq Designs as a senior marketing specialist in early 2018, she was adamant about one thing: the sales team needed to adopt Sales Navigator. The success she’d seen with this tool in a previous job left no doubt in her mind.

Vice president Jim Blundo was hesitant. Sparq was a fledgling young marketing and design agency that needed to scrutinize every dollar spent. Would licensing this sales enablement software really offer enough ROI to justify the cost?

“It was definitely something we didn’t say ‘yes’ to right away,” Blundo explains. “But when you believe in the person who is presenting it to you, as we do with Eve, we trusted that if this was her advice, then this was something that was worth a chance.”

Leadership approved a one-month trial for Sales Navigator. They haven’t looked back since.

Overcoming Small Business Challenges

Like many small or mid-sized businesses (SMBs), Sparq Designs faced a number of challenges in growing brand awareness and bolstering its customer base. Based on her past experience, Griffin recognized Sales Navigator as a vehicle for tackling some of these hurdles — especially angling for bigger fish.

“A huge goal of ours is to work with clients that have a higher revenue,” she explains. “I thought that Sales Navigator was just an easier way in the door to bypass some of the gatekeepers and to have higher-level conversations with the right people. I wasn't wasting time just spinning my wheels, getting through the red tape and through gatekeepers.”

Within her first few months using Sales Navigator, she was able to connect with the VP of marketing for a large local brewery, turning a relationship that was “cold, for lack of a better word” (per Griffin) into a recurring client. This was her first big win with the software, but far from the last.

“Since then, I would say the bulk of my day is spent on Sales Navigator, and it's where the majority of my correspondence is,” she says. “We've added five clients this year, large clients that we've been targeting with correspondence from LinkedIn.”

As new opportunities and deals continued to materialize, any lingering doubts from the executive team vanished. “My skepticism was pretty much put aside right away,” Blundo says.

In 2019, Sparq’s first full year with Sales Navigator, the business development team is forecasting $445K in revenue from contracts sourced to the tool.

Maximizing Sales Navigator in the SMB Space

How can other companies in a similar position get the most out of Sales Navigator? Here are a few applicable tips from Sparq’s success.

Start Your Day the Right Way
Pour a cup of coffee, check the news, and scroll through your Sales Navigator feeds. Griffin says that perusing her updates and alerts is part of the morning routine. She then has her CRM and Sales Navigator open throughout the day and consults both of them often. She’ll scan her saved leads for any posts or content shares that might indicate an actionable opportunity. Additionally, she regularly keeps an eye on the Discover tab for new recommended leads and accounts to pursue.

Look for Common Connections and Who’s Viewed Your Profile
Familiarity and recognition are important for any sales engagement, but can be trickier for smaller brands that may not have a well established name in the market yet. Because of this, it’s especially important to find pathways for warm connections that don’t seem out-of-the-blue.

When Griffin sees a mutual connection with a prospect she’d like to reach, that provides a way in. And when she notices that someone of interest checked out her profile, that serves as a prompt.

“If I see somebody new that opened my page, I send them a really quick, ‘Hey, thanks for connecting with me. Please let me know if you need anything, we're here to help you.’ Just kind of like a non-pressure, non-salesy type email just to let them know that I'm here.”

Divide and Conquer
Timeliness is always a major factor in sales. For Sparq Designs, which serves a multitude of different business niches, certain verticals tend to be more ripe at different times of year. For instance, one industry might have a major conference in the spring, or a key business renewal period at year’s end.

Griffin builds out custom lists in Sales Navigator based on the verticals her agency targets. This helps her stay organized and focused with her efforts.

Take Advantage of InMail
“InMail is the number one way that I'm corresponding and doing prospecting and outreach with potential clients,” Griffing says, adding that the response rates are “exponentially better” than email. When it comes to reaching decision makers within an organization, Griffin notes that simply tracking down an email address can be vexing, not to mention getting noticed in a crowded inbox. She finds it much more fruitful to craft personalized messages with LinkedIn’s messaging tool, incorporating personal or company insights that are readily at hand.

“We're in business where canned emails really don't do anything, not for the type of people we're trying to speak with,” she explains. “It pays off to take the time to write a nice little InMail and send it that way … It’s almost like a little sales secretary for you.”

For SMBs, Sales Navigator Is a Smart Bet

After seeing the software’s sizable impact, Blundo and Sparq Design were quick to acquire additional licenses, with hopes of scaling up their business development efforts. They tabbed Griffin to train in two more business developers on Sales Navigator. This is another advisable practice for young companies looking to get a modern selling strategy up and running. While LinkedIn offers plenty of resources and onboarding support, nothing is quite as helpful as a colleague sharing her own personal recipe for success.

Going forward, Sparq’s leadership has no uncertainty about the value of Sales Navigator. “We've made a commitment to making it a part of our sales process and a part of our sales prospecting process,” Blundo says.

Check out the full Sparq Designs customer story to learn more about how this SMB leveraged Sales Navigator to ignite its sales strategy.